Iago's Impulsiveness In Othello

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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, impulsivity can be defined as acting or responding to an event without forethought. In the tragedy Othello by William Shakespeare, the protagonist, Othello, is a tragic hero who struggles to balance his power as Venetian general with his personal life. His ancient, Iago, the antagonist of the play, is angered because Othello did not choose him to be lieutenant. Iago attempts to stage an affair between Cassio, the lieutenant, and Desdemona, Othello’s wife. Iago’s manipulations expose many of Othello’s character flaws and leads to his suicide. Still, despite Iago’s influence, Othello’s downfall, and ultimately his death, is caused by his own impulsiveness. This point is evident when he elopes with…show more content…
Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, is informed by Iago and Roderigo, a Venetian nobleman, that Desdemona has run away to marry Othello. Although skeptical at first, Brabantio becomes infuriated and organizes a search party to hunt down Othello. Eventually, Brabantio finds Othello, and violently accuses him of theft and sorcery. Brabantio calls for Othello’s imprisonment, and Othello finds himself being tried in court. Othello’s impetuous behavior has put him in this situation. If Othello were to carefully analyze the situation, and not run away with Desdemona secretly, he would not be prosecuted and could focus on his military duties. Enraged, Brabantio lets his feelings about Othello be known, saying, “O, thou foul thief, where hast thou stowed my daughter? Damned as thou art, thou hast enchanted her! For I’ll refer me to all things of sense, [If she in chains of magic were not bound,] Whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy, So opposite to marriage that she shunned The wealthy curlèd (darlings) of our nation, Would ever have t’ incur a general mock, Run from her guardage to the sooty bosom Of such a thing as thou -- to fear, not to delight!” (Shakespeare I.ii.80-90). Brabantio, outraged, verbally attacks Othello. By acting too quickly, Othello creates a poor reputation for himself and an unnecessary conflict with his father-in-law. This event…show more content…
Through Iago’s manipulation and Othello’s inability to think critically, Othello becomes very suspicious of Desdemona and believes she is having an affair with Cassio. Although Iago has little evidence, he easily convinces Othello of Desdemona’s infidelity. Othello only mentions his beliefs about Desdemona a few times in front of her, which causes her to feel confused about why he is angry. With no debate, Othello decides to plan for his wife’s death. One night, Othello finds Desdemona asleep in bed. He wakes her, and informs her she is about to die. Desdemona begs for mercy; however, she cannot appease Othello, and smothers her. After much chaos, Othello is arrested and finally becomes aware of his mistakes. Othello immediately feels remorse for what he has done, which could have been prevented if he would have thought for himself. As he is being taken away, Othello states, “Speak of me as I am. Nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak Of one that loved not wisely, but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought, Perplexed in the extreme” (V.ii.402-406). Othello is explaining that he did not fully understand the situation when he smothered Desdemona, and is truly sorry for his actions. Because Othello did not think, he decided to kill his true love and permanently ruins his reputation. This awful decision, along with the others,
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